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Citing cases

Page history last edited by Fiona Fogden 1 year, 8 months ago Saved with comment

Citing cases - some useful guidance


Guidance on how to cite cases, particularly if they are unreported or County Court, can be found courtesy of Bournemouth University (when you've clicked on the link, scroll down and look for the 'How to cite references' option). Cardiff University also have a handy tutorial on Citing the Law.


The guide mentions OSCOLA - the Oxford Standard for Citation of Legal Authorities. More information on OSCOLA can be found on this webpage: https://www.law.ox.ac.uk/research-subject-groups/publications/oscola (2012 and 2006 editions available).


A useful summary of the hierarchy of law reports, or which is the best one to cite, can be found on the Bodleian Law Library's website: http://denning.law.ox.ac.uk/lrsp/overview/law_reports.php#bestreport. This guidance arises from a 2012 practice direction which can be read at: https://www.judiciary.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/JCO/Documents/Practice+Directions/lcj-pract-dir-citation-authorities-2012.pdf 


Neutral Citations


The official neutral citation system was introduced for the United Kingdom in January 2001 and with effect from 14 January 2002 the practice of neutral citation was extended to all judgments given by judges in the High Court in London. The neutral citation is a unique identifier for each judgment and is assigned centrally by the courts. 


  • The abbreviation for the Supreme Court is UKSC and for the House of Lords it was UKHL. Judgments from the Privy Council are identified by UKPC.
  • England and Wales Court of Appeal judgments are identified by EWCA Crim (for the Criminal Division) and EWCA Civ (for the Civil Division).
  • The England and Wales High Court is identified by EWHC, with the various Divisions being indicated in brackets after the judgment number. (QB) indicates the Queen's Bench Division, (Fam) indicates the Family Division, (Ch) indicates Chancery, and so on.
  • Neutral citations have also been adopted by Tribunals. Judgments from the UK Immigration Appeals Tribunal are indicated by UKIAT, for example



Further details regarding the neutral citation system used in England & Wales can be found in this document produced by the Inner Temple Library:



Once a judgment is reported in a law report series, the neutral citation appears in front of the more usual law report series e.g. Smith v. Buckland [2007] EWCA Civ 1318; [2008] 1 W.L.R. 661


See the BAILLI website for more details.



Westlaw neutral citations


Westlaw also have their own neutral citation 

For example:

X v Oldham MBC  [2013] 7 WLUK 159.


[2013] is the year the case was heard.

The next number is the month of the hearing, so 7 is July, NOT a volume number.

WLUK stands for Westlaw United Kingdom.

The 159 is a sequential number assigned to the neutral citation, NOT a page number. 


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